Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Scientific Illustration

Ernst Haeckel


 Images taken from:

Here's some of my own work:
"reflections on Death" - Pen on paper. 2009

"Mr. Crumple's Last Day". Pen on paper. 2009

"Transport of Mr. Crumple" ink on velum. 2009

"Conversations in Passing" pen on paper. 2009
(and in sculpting)

Merian  - Entomologist and Scientific Illustrator
April 2, 1647 – January 13, 1717)

 Image taken from:

When Maria Sibylla Merian was little, her father died and her mother married a painter who encouraged Maria to draw and paint.  She continued to do so into adulthood, marring her step father's painting assistant even - and going on to paint and even teach such skills to others.  Yet it was her husband's constant infidelity that caused her to leave and divorce him - but gave her the opportunity to travel around the world (most famously South America) and explore her own work even further.
Her studies lead her to focus on gardens and insects -with a particular interest in Caterpillars and butterflies. Prior to her work - people thought that butterflies and Caterpillars arose from spontaneous generation, but it was her observations and illustrations that changed this.  Her sketchbooks were later published into a series of books, and she became well known.  Still - in 1715 she had a stroke, which left her paralyzed, destitute and homeless.  She died 2 years later with nothing.

Her books:
Neues Blumenbuch -- New book of flowers  (1675)
Der Raupen wunderbare Verwandlung und sonderbare Blumennahrung -- The Caterpillar, Marvelous Transformation and Strange Floral Food  (1678)

Cornelia Hess Honegger -- entomologist and Scientific Illustrator
 Zurich, Switzerland, (1944  - present)

"A scientific illustrator and artist, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger was born in 1944 in Zurich, Switzerland. She worked for 25 years as a scientific illustrator for the scientific department of the Natural History Museum at the University of Zurich. Since 1969, she has collected and painted bugs in the suborder Heteroptera. Her watercolors act as an interface between art and science and pay witness to a beautiful but endangered nature. Since the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl in 1986, she has collected, studied, and painted morphologically disturbed insects she finds in the fallout areas of this and other nuclear plants. Since the early 1970s, her work has been shown in various galleries and museums in Switzerland, as well as at prestigious institutions such as the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Chelsea Art Museum in New York, and the Kunsthaus Nürnberg. For more on Cornelia click here."  Bio taken from:

Her Bio has been Taken & copied directly from her site:
"Since the catastrophe of Chernobyl in 1986, she has collected, studied and painted morphologically disturbed insects, which she finds in the fallout areas of Chernobyl as well as near nuclear installations. As a result of her studies, she is convinced that in  
regions where the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl, or from normally working nuclear power plants, hits ground, the vegetation is contaminated, and a certain percentage of the insects, like leaf bugs, become morphologically disturbed.
Her first research trip, in the summer of 1987, brought her to the regions worst hit by the Chernobyl radioactive cloud: the south of Sweden and the southern part of Switzerland, known as the Ticino. She captured leaf bugs in those regions, insects that were two generations removed from the Chernobyl accident, and studied their health with her binocular microscope. She concluded that the fallout from Chernobyl had caused a significant number of morphological malformations among Heteroptera leaf bugs, Drosophila fruit flies, and plants. 

She published her work in the magazine of the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger in January 1988. Swiss scientists, however, expressed criticism of her research, insisting that the fallout in Western Europe from the Chernobyl accident was too small to cause morphological disturbances in insects.
After this attack from the Swiss scientific community on her findings, Cornelia became even more intrigued about the effects of radiation on the health of insects. She wondered whether the insects living in the environs of Swiss nuclear power plants, which emit significantly lower levels of radiation than the fallout from Chernobyl, would therefore be healthy. 

In 1989 Cornelia made her first trip to collect leaf bugs in the environs of the Swiss  nuclear power plants Gösgen and Leibstadt, in the canton of Aargau. In 1989 she continued her studies in the environs of the British nuclear reprocessing plant Sellafield. In the following years she concluded studies around the French nuclear reprocessing plant La Hague, the nuclear power plants Krümmel and Gundremmingen in Germany, and Three Mile Island in the U.S., as well as the Nevada atom bomb testing area and the Hanford plutonium factories in Washington State. In 1990 she traveled to Chernobyl itself.
Based on her studies, she has concluded that normally working nuclear power plants — as well as other nuclear installations — cause deformities in Heteroptera leaf bugs, and are a terrible threat to nature. Her field studies were centered at first in her native Switzerland, since she felt she should  
begin by taking a broom to her own house. Her watercolors of morphologically disturbed insects and plants, as well as her publications, document her findings in a very convincing and impressive form.

Cornelia has learned that there is an official science that claims that the low amounts of radiation emitted by nuclear installations are harmless. The risks of low-level exposure are ignored or insufficiently studied by scientists connected to government institutions and universities. Scientists who have researched the effects of low-level exposure to radiation — like the scientists in Belarus, Ukraine, and Germany who studied the effects of the Chernobyl radioactive cloud on children’s health — are not given opportunities to publish their findings, or are ostracized within the scientific community.  
All over the world, scientists who study the effects of radioactivity have little opportunity to publish their findings or persuade their governments about its deathly effects, as those governments quickly approve counter-studies. Cornelia therefore asks for truly independent studies — from university scientists not dependent on government funding — but she also wishes to reach the man and woman in the street to alert them to the problem." 
Her Bio has been Taken & copied directly from her site:









Work of others your own age:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

 I taught scientific illustration and the working world definitely got my labor's worth - but I think it was worth it. Look at these great illustrations done by 9 year olds from observation!

Beyond the field trip crowd
Posted by Lauren Urban   [Entry posted at 2nd April 2010 03:41 PM GMT]  Beyond the field trip crowd - The Scientist - Magazine of the Life Sciences


Living on the Right Side of your Brain "la-la Land"

Scientific Illustration at the Smithonian

PROTEUS preview of the film we watched about Ernst Heckle

Beyond the field trip

Interview with a Scientific Illustrator

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